01/09/2013 23:22 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

27 Weeks Pregnant: Skin Deep

I've had a really annoying skin complaint that seems to have lasted the last 20 or so weeks and doesn't show any signs of going away. It's not itchy or sore, just unslightly. It's a light rash that appeared quite early on in my pregnancy, and it's located underneath my right arm, sometimes extending from the shoulder all the way down to the armpit, sometimes just a little bit under the arm, where my bingo wings reside.

It's very annoying, as it always seems to be there, no matter how slight. It becomes worse when I'm stressed or tired, but seems to ease when I apply E45 cream, or, when it's quite bad, calamine lotion.

Anyway, you don't really want to hear about my yucky skin conditions, do you? Thought not. My point is that after researching high and low on what it could be and why it won't budge, I have since discovered that, surprise surprise, existing skin conditions can get worse and/or persist when you are pregnant. This goes for those horrors like eczema and psoriasis as well as other dermal nasties that some of us have to live with. It's not really surprising though, given that the skin is our bodies' largest organ, and that pregnancy hormones can and do affect all our bodies in weird and wonderful ways. I mentioned a while back that tanning becomes easier due to increased melanin production, so it goes that rashes and the like can also get worse.
Whilst I've been lucky enough to avoid it so far, one of the most common pregnancy skin complaints is PEP – "polymorphic eruption of pregnancy" (nice name, huh?). This is essentially down to your skin stretching and usually affects the bump in the last few weeks when it is at it largest. It starts in the stretch marks and causes raised and red areas that are very itchy. Your doctor can prescribe an antihistamine to relieve it, or steroid cream. Some people also swear by an oatmeal bath (put some oats in an old pillowcase and run warm water over it in the tub), which is also quite good for very dry skin.

As for my rashes, I guess I should count myself lucky it's not PEP, and just resign myself to enduring it for the next few months and hope it goes away once our little joy bundle arrives.

Did you or do you have any annoying skin issues during pregnancy? What remedies did you use to ease them?